Weed in New South Wales – Australia Series

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This is part 3 of our 8 part series exploring weed in Australia. We’re talking about weed in New South Wales, the most populated state in Australia and home to the city of Sydney.

Although NSW may be Australia’s third smallest state, it’s still significantly larger than Texas, the United States largest state in the lower 48. Population wise, New South Wales is the California of Australia. As far as its weed laws go, New South Wales is on the stricter end of the scale when compared to the rest of the country. Globally, however, New South Wale’s weed laws are pretty relaxed.

weed in New South Wales

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Possession of Weed in New South Wales

In New South Wales, police can legally search a person without arrest, provided they “reasonably suspect” the person to be in possession of drugs.

Further, they also have the power to strip search that person if they believe it to be necessary. The police also have similar powers for searching vehicles under suspicion of drugs.

Like many other Australian states, New South Wales has a diversion program for lower-level offenses. For cannabis, if you are caught using it, being in possession of up to 15 grams, or possession of paraphernalia (bong/pipe etc), then the police officer might choose this route.

Trafficking Weed Laws NSW

In NSW, being in possession of more than 300 grams of cannabis will be considered trafficking. This is broken down further into three categories, each involving different maximum penalties.

IndictableCommercialLarge Commercial
Quantity1kg25kg100kg
Fine (AUD)$220,000$385,000$550,000
Jail10 years15 years20 years

Growing Weed in New South Wales

New South Wales law makes no distinction in the size or gender of cannabis plants. In fact, it explicitly states the following:

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“The penalty categories for cultivating cannabis depend on the number of plants, not their gender or size. Cultivating 100 seedlings that can fit into a baking tray is charged in the same way as cultivating 100 mature female plants. Having 250 seedlings results in a more serious charge than having five big plants, even though the weight of the big plants may be many times greater.”

SmallIndictableCommercialLarge Commercial
Quantity (indoor)5 plants50 plants50 plants200 plants
Quantity (outdoor)5 plants50 plants250 plants1000 plants
Fine (AUD)$5,500$220,000$385,000$550,000
Jail2 years10 years15 years20 years

What’s Next for NSW Cannabis?

New South Wales is a very urbanized state, with over 80% of people living in either Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, or the Central Coast. Those four places are almost joined themselves, so the state has 80% of its people in the one area.

Despite this highly urbanized population, the center-right “liberal” party is very popular within the state. Gladys Berejiklian, the state premier (similar to US governor), is very much against drugs. Unless Australia legalizes cannabis federally, NSW will likely have to vote in a Labor premier for any chance of legal weed. Even if that happens though, Labor isn’t currently for legalization anyway. And, the next election isn’t until 2023.

Read Next:
The Weed Situation in Queensland

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